Arts and Entertainment
 

Producers are scrambling to make 'gran-coms' for older audiences

Warner Bros is shelving The Maccabees, and writer Joe Eszterhas wrote a nine-page letter to Mel Gibson giving his detailed opinion on why the plug was pulled

Film dumped but Hollywood make 'Mad Mel' sequel

For two decades, Mel Gibson was at the top of the Hollywood tree. Building on his successes as an actor, he won an Oscar in 1996 for directing Braveheart and routinely commanded salaries of more than $20 million.

Lucas has been trying to build the studios in San Francisco for 25 years

The final episode: George Lucas bows to protests and pulls plug on film studio plans

The George Lucas empire is striking back after giving up its 25-year battle to build a palatial film studio in the pastoral hills north of San Francisco.

Lucky Break, By Esther Freud

Three characters, perfectly cast

Dom Joly: On with the motley – it's time to fool Britannia

I'm just getting ready to start annoying the people of Britain with my new TV show, Fool Britannia. We start filming in a couple of weeks, so preparation is well under way. Things have changed since I last dipped my toe into the world of hidden camera. We used to just wander into work in the morning, have a "bit of a think" and then decide what we were going to film. Maybe I would spot a milkman and mutter, "Oh, we haven't done anything with a milkman character." So we'd then drive up to a costume house, such as Angels, and root around for a milkman costume. Once we'd got this it would be nearly time for lunch – so we'd find somewhere for a nice, two-hour Continental-style break. And, hopefully, over the meal we would have come up with an idea for what to do with the milkman.

Alison Steadman: 'A gang of lads saw me and shouted "Pamela!" It really gave me a thrill'

I was proud to be involved in the first lesbian kiss on TV It was in 1974 in a BBC play called Girl, with Myra Frances, and it got a lot of reaction at the time. Then, when Brookside came on years later, people said "Ooh, Anna Friel did this kiss with another woman, and it was the first time on TV." And I'm like, no, actually it was me!

Rampling says: 'The only way life is interesting to me - and I'm in a particular profession where I can do this - is to jump off the cliff. This is what excites me.'

Charlotte Rampling: 'I've lived with fear all my life'

She has never been afraid to bare her soul on screen – but talking about the anxieties that led to a very public breakdown has not been easy for Charlotte Rampling. Which only makes her new film all the more intriguing...

Sean Penn's unsuspected comic talents give Sorrentino's film its lightness of touch

This Must Be the Place, Paolo Sorrentino (15)

The normally straight-laced actor is a hoot as an aimless, ageing rock star who finds redemption pursuing a Nazi war criminal in this strange, warm and humorous take on the road movie

Between the Covers 08/04/2012

Your weekly guide to what's really going on inside the world of books

Liam Neeson

Liam Neeson - 'A sex symbol? Flattering, but I don't think so'

With five films out this year, Hollywood disagrees with Liam Neeson's view he might be past his sell-by date. The chatty star of Schindler's List tells Gill Pringle about his new nautical role – and the time he serenaded Paul McCartney with a Beatles medley...

Vincente Minnelli's The Bad and the Beautiful (1952)

The dark side of the money men

Little has changed since Vincente Minnelli's tale of a brutal producer

Both films portray Joseph Kony of the LRA as a brutal warlord

Kony 2: Sequel to video that went viral receives its online premiere

It was one of the most successful viral campaign videos ever, supported by A-list celebrities and drawing praise for making the Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), globally notorious.

Director of 'Shakespeare Must Die' Ing Kanjanavanit holds up a DVD the banned movie

Hubble bubble, Macbeth's in trouble as Thailand bans film

Film censors in Thailand have stepped in to ban a film based on William Shakespeare's Macbeth, claiming it could inflame political tensions.

The Pirates in an Adventure with Scientists (U) / Wrath of the Titans (12A) (4/5, 2/5)

Voices: Hugh Grant, Martin Freeman, Imelda Staunton, Brian Blessed

Tabucchi: 'Like a comet I've traversed infinite nights,' he wrote

Antonio Tabucchi: Novelist who became a fierce critic of Berlusconi

Antonio Tabucchi was a leading Italian novelist, intellectual, academic and columnist, widely known to his countryman as a ferocious critic of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. He regularly accused Mr Berlusconi of using his political power to further his own interests. He was also an internationally-renowned expert and professor of the literature of Portugal, which he considered his second home and where he died of cancer aged 68.

Last Night's Viewing: I Never Said Yes, BBC3<br />The Apprentice, BBC1

I don't know what the demographic overlap is between Independent readers and the BBC3 audience, but if you haven't been watching you might be interested to learn that the Corporation's most frivolous channel has also built an impressive record for bringing serious social issues to a younger audience. It has produced reality formats that illuminate the true cost of the cheap goods we enjoy, it's used pop presenters to explore foreign affairs and it's done thoughtful documentaries about disability issues in which disabled people serve as reporters, not just the passive subject matter. This week alone you could have watched a drama documentary about an inner-city murder on Monday, Reggie Yates exploring the world of teen gangs on Tuesday and, last night, Pips Taylor's I Never Said Yes, a documentary about the worrying gap between reported rapes and convictions. And unfortunately the last of these was an example of how good intentions aren't all you need.

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NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own